November 14, 2018
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Life Science Companies of All Sizes Find Success in Florida
Over the past decade, Florida has emerged as a leader in the field of life sciences innovation. Nearly 1,000 biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies employ 26,000 industry professionals and 700,000 healthcare professionals in the state.
The medical device manufacturing field has experienced exponential growth in recent years. Florida has one of the country’s largest medical device manufacturing industries and ranks 2nd for the number of FDA-registered medical device establishments.
Florida is home to more than 570 medical device manufacturers responsible for an extensive range of products used in medical treatment. Over the last three years, Florida has continued to strengthen its position as top destination for medical device manufacturers with announcements by leading companies such as Covidien, Johnson & Johnson Vistakon, and Bolton Medical. These projects alone account for 300 new jobs and almost $250 million in capital investment.
Medtronic chose Jacksonville when selecting a location to manufacture devices to treat ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases and cranial, spinal, and neurologic conditions. Capitalizing on their success in Jacksonville, Medtronic chose to expand the facility in 2012, a project that will result in 175 new jobs and a capital investment of $14 million. Mark Fletcher, President of Surgical Technologies Division, said “A well trained workforce, the proximity to major universities, the business climate, an exceptional quality of life, and local and state support were all key factors that made Jacksonville by far the most attractive location for our expansion.”
To help companies large and small grow in the state, Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) offers a variety of programs to support businesses, including assistance to attend international trade shows and events. For the past 18 years, Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) has hosted Florida-based healthcare companies at MEDICA, the world’s largest medical trade fair. Held in Germany on November 2013, the event was the largest ever, with 26 small and mid-sized Florida healthcare companies showcased in a two-story Florida pavilion.
The show was attended by 130,000 visitors from 120 countries, and gave Florida exhibitors a unique opportunity to cost-effectively market their products and services to an international audience. EFI’s assistance made it possible for many companies to attend MEDICA that would not otherwise have had the means to go, with 43 percent of exhibitors receiving grants of offset the costs of attending. Exhibitors reported nearly $159 million in total projected sales as a result of attending the show.
Umbra Medical Products was one of many small business Florida success stories from the show. The Inverness-based company, which specializes in cardiovascular interventional devices, generated 150 sales leads from 46 different countries. “MEDICA allowed us the opportunity to reach out to the international community and find dealers for our products,” said Wanda Hart, Executive Vice President of Umbra Medical Products. “We have seen what is happening in the worldwide medical field and this show gave us a view of the world market at a glance. The grants we received from Enterprise Florida are really invaluable and it allowed us the opportunity to market our company on a worldwide playing field.”
Medical device manufacturers will get another boost with the impending elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and machinery beginning on April 1, 2014, a move championed by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature. The sales tax elimination will allow manufacturers in the state to save costs, increase capital investments and hire more Florida workers. More importantly, this significant piece of legislation removes a distinct competitive disadvantage and makes Florida a more attractive state for manufacturing.